August 25, 2015

Until Dawn - Maxi-Geek Review

Sony's latest survival horror game, Until Dawn, follows the story of 8 friends meeting a year after a traumatic event. The intro of the game sets the scene and feel of what is to come during the game where players are made to decide the outcomes of each event, therefore creating a butterfly effect. If you've play Sony's previous 'choose your own story' thriller, Heavy Rain, you'd be quite familiar with it's gameplay. Due to the game's narrative, we'll do our best to ensure this review is absolutely spoiler free, as we want players the enjoyment of finding the game's twists and story themselves!

Until Dawn is created to be played multiple times with variations to the narrative's ending and survivors, which again is similar to Heavy Rain. Depending on the decisions you make throughout the game, there are repercussions on who survives on who does not. Additionally, being that they narrative follows 8 friends, decisions made affects the relationship of the characters throughout the game.

In relation to controlling your character's movements, unfortunately the game feels quite sluggish, even though holding onto the L1 trigger is supposed to make your controlled character walk faster.
In addition to players making a decision of 2 options, they're forced to use the game's crosshair action, in which Sony didn't take into consideration to give players the option to select an 'inverted' control.

Lastly, Until Dawn doesn't let you move your camera view as your move your character throughout the game. Couple this with the sluggish character movement and you'll find you've got a rather frustrating game to play. That being said, this could be done on purpose to leave players with less control and slower movement throughout the game, enhancing player's 'threat' level to coincide with the games genre. Specifically with camera angles which come across quite frustrating at first…however, you eventually feel the smartness and intensity of the game due to it's great cinematography.

Going back to the actual story itself, Until Dawn very much feels like a typical 'teen horror' story surrounded by 8 friends. Within the group you play, there's the typical jock, the nerd, the miss congeniality…all the way down to the token black guy (there, I said it). This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but might make players choose their decision carefully depending on who they relate better with. Additionally, with a psycho on the lose, the story sets up a few scenes which will remind you of the Saw films. In addition to the typical teen horror; psycho evil; stuck in a cabin during the middle of a snow storm story, Until Dawn integrates native american folklore…making the game refreshing. Throughout the game, you pick up clues which you're able to investigate and work out the psycho's identity…and so on. We won't say much more to ensure we don't give away spoilers.

The game's graphics isn't mind-blowing, however, meets the minimum expectation of a Playstation 4 game. This could easily be seen with each characters hair, which feels as though it has no movement and is 'clumped' together. That being said, textures of skin, snow and clothes seem to make up for the lack of human dynamic movement that most games are not able to replicate. However, with great cinematography and camera angles, the game really feels as though you're in a cinema watching a film, but are able to control the characters.

Overall, the game does tell the narrative well in it's horror genre, and makes players either love or hate certain characters. Though the game does get frustrating at certain points due to it's controls, it's still well worth playing to uncover Until Dawn's mysteries. Especially with the option to direct which way the story goes and who survives, we're sure players will want to play the game multiple times to see the variation in endings.

Thanks to PlayStation Australia for providing the game for review

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